Look­ing back on farm­ing

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Fran­cis Witsenhuysen

GOR­DON Niebling has been a farmer, truck driver, school bus driver and a ded­i­cated vol­un­teer for more than 20 years in the Lock­yer Val­ley.

Though the new­est res­i­dent of Lai­d­ley’s Tabeel Lutheran Home said sur­viv­ing the dev­as­tat­ing floods which tore through the Fas­sifern Val­ley in 1954 nearly spelled the end of his farm­ing ca­reer, be­fore it had even be­gun.

“I had just pur­chased my first farm in Charl­wood, be­low Moogerah Dam when those floods came though in ‘54,” Mr Niebling said.

“It just about broke me - I couldn’t bor­row money but luck­ily I had a pro­duce agent in Bris­bane who helped me and put me back on my feet that was good of him.”

Twenty years later Mr Niebling de­cided to make the move with his wife and three chil­dren to the Lock­yer Val­ley, and in 1974 he pur­chased a farm in Thornton. He be­gan with beef cat­tle then be­gan to grow clover (for cow feed) and even­tu­ally lucerne, pump­kins, onions and car­rots.

“I found it was much eas­ier farm­ing over here than in the Fas­sifern Val­ley,” he said.

“My farm in Charl­wood was a very sandy farm and had ev­er­last­ing ir­ri­gat­ing. And over here I didn’t have to have wa­ter half as much... there’s much bet­ter black soil here.

Soon af­ter mov­ing into the Thornton farm, the 1974 floods tore through the Lock­yer Val­ley.

“It was a lot of hard work to stay afloat but we got there,” he said.

“The next floods in 2011 and 2013, I was liv­ing in town, luck­ily.”

Mr Niebling was born and bred in the Fas­sifern Val­ley.

“My fa­ther was a farmer too, he had dairy and pig then went into potato, pump­kins and lucerne.

“I left school on my 14th birth­day to help my fa­ther on the farm. I loved farm­ing.”

PHOTO: FRAN­CIS WITSENHUYSEN

PRO­FILE: Lai­d­ley’s Gor­don Niebling says he has loved his farm­ing life and liv­ing in the Lock­yer Val­ley.

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